By Mitchell Boatman

NORTON SHORES — Who would have ever imagined that Mona Shores would build a big enough lead over state power Detroit King to force a running clock?

That’s exactly what happened on Saturday at Mona Shores in a hastily-arranged rematch of last year’s Division 2 state championship game.

Elijah Farnum turns the corner and picks up a Sailor first down. Photo/Eric Sturr

The Sailors defied the pregame hype and thoroughly controlled the game. They won by a final score of 35-21, but those numbers are misleading.

Mona Shores led 35-0 midway through the fourth quarter before King rattled off three late touchdowns after the issue was settled.

Sailor coach Matt Koziak had high praise for his team after the big win.

“The way you were able to do that, that’s maybe the best, complete game you’ve played this year,” said the coach, whose team got to play King after its originally-scheduled game against Zeeland West was cancelled. “That was a lot of fun to coach.”

Senior quarterback Brady Rose once again starred for the Sailors, rushing for 120 yards and two touchdowns, passing for 111 and two more scores, racking up 11 tackles on defense, forcing one fumble and recovering another.

As remarkable as it was, it was the type of performance that we’ve come to expect from Rose, especially in big games.

Rose was typically modest after the game.

“I make plays when I have the chance, it doesn’t matter which play it is,” he said of his all-around play. “Especially going into the playoffs, this is a huge win.”

Sailor’s Demetri Roberson and Keondre Pierce take down MKL’s Jamar Davis. Photo/Eric Sturr

Koziak summed up Rose’s performance in a simple sentence.

“I don’t know if there’s a more valuable piece to a team than what he brings to our team,” the coach said.

The win caps an undefeated 6-0 regular season for the defending state champs. Mona Shores will be at home for the first round of the playoffs next week, and will continue to host games for several weeks if they continue to win.

Playoff matchups will be officially announced on Sunday at noon at

“I think it’s huge having at least three more home games here now if we keep winning,” Rose said. “I think it’s pretty tough for somebody to come in here and beat us on our home field.”

Mona Shores set the tone on its opening drive by marching 65 yards for a score on five plays. Elijah Johnson capped the drive with a six-yard run to make it 6-0.

After the Sailor defense forced a three-and-out, Rose guided the offense on a six-play, 75-yard drive, which ended when he found  Damari Roberson for a 31-yard touchdown pass.

Rose also ran in the two-point conversion, making the score 14-0 with 4:21 left in the first quarter.

The Shores defense forced another three-and-out on King’s next drive, setting up a 12-yard touchdown run by Rose that made the score 20-0 with 1:12 to play in the first.

Demetri Roberson hauls in a Brady Rose pass for a Sailor touchdown. Photo/Eric Sturr

Getting ahead early, with the defense stopping King’s offense in its tracks, was a huge advantage for the Sailors.

“Any time you can get up on a team that is really talented like that, where they have to play from behind, and maybe get out of what they do, it’s always (huge),” Koziak said. “We were able to get some stops, get some takeaways. They’re hard to keep out of the end zone, and our kids did a great job with that.”

King drove down the field on its next possession, but fumbled the ball at the Mona Shores one-yard line on the 11th play of the drive. Rose recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback.

The Sailors took advantage of the turnover, taking the ball 80 yards in 10 plays for another score. Rose capped the drive with a two-yard TD plunge, then the two-point conversion made the score 28-0 with 2:07 left in the half.

Rose forced a fumble near midfield on King’s ensuing drive, which the Sailors recovered before running out the clock in the half.

King put together a long drive to start the second half, but turned the ball over on downs at the Sailor 19.

Mona Shores sealed the game on its ensuing drive, marching 81 yards in 13 plays, taking 9:03 of the clock. Rose capped off the march with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Gary Humphrey on fourth down, making the score 35-0 and initiating a running clock.

The Crusaders scored three times in the final 5:44 once the game was all but over and the Sailor starters were mostly off the field.

Quarterback Dante Moore ran in a two-yard score, Jaylon Reed rushed in from 16 yards out, and Moore found Lynn Wyche-el for a 41-yard catch-and-run TD.

Humphrey led the Mona Shores receiving corps with three catches for 80 yards and recovered a fumble on defense. Elijah Farnum ran for 49 yards and had a 27-yard reception, while Johnson rushed for 32 yards. Khyree Hamel had four tackles for the Sailors.

Moore passed for 200 yards for the Crusaders. Reed ran for 58 yards and Justin Whyte added 57. Wyche-el had 165 yards receiving.